I often need to toggle between show/hide hidden files in my PC. I have been doing it the usual way,

  • Click Organize in an Explorer window.
  • Select Folder and search options.
  • Switch to View tab.
  • Toggle between Show/Hide Hidden files.

This method is so lengthy and I am tired of it.

I would like to toggle between them from the command line (cmd). Is there any way to achieve this?

Also, a way to toggle between Show/Hide System Files from the command line would be great.


Hidden files, folders or drives:

Add (or overwrite /f) the value Hidden to the registry key: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced.


reg add "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced" /v Hidden /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

Don't show:

reg add "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced" /v Hidden /t REG_DWORD /d 2 /f


REG QUERY "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced" /v Hidden | Find "0x2"
IF %ERRORLEVEL% == 1 goto turnoff
If %ERRORLEVEL% == 0 goto turnon

goto end
REG ADD "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced" /v Hidden /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
goto end

REG ADD "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced" /v Hidden /t REG_DWORD /d 2 /f
goto end


Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)


reg add "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced" /v ShowSuperHidden /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f


reg add "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced" /v ShowSuperHidden /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f


REG QUERY "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced" /v ShowSuperHidden | Find "0x0"
IF %ERRORLEVEL% == 1 goto turnoff
If %ERRORLEVEL% == 0 goto turnon

goto end
REG ADD "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced" /v ShowSuperHidden /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
goto end

REG ADD "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced" /v ShowSuperHidden /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f
goto end


Notes: Changes take place immediately. The program reg requires admin privileges, so run the batch files as administrator.

  • Don't you need to kill and restart the explorer.exe process for registry changes to actually get applied? – Zoredache Dec 1 '16 at 17:37
  • @Zoredache The settings take effect immediately either from the Folder Options and the registry change. Try it and see. – Steven Dec 1 '16 at 17:41
  • 2
    @RogUE No, because the script is testing the result of the find command (whether 0x2 or 0x0 is present in the registry key). – TripeHound Dec 2 '16 at 9:11
  • 1
    It doesn't appear to be a typo: it's checking for the presence of 0x0; if it's found (find returns 0) then it jumps to turnon and sets the value to 1; if it's not found (find returns 1) then it jumps to turnoff and sets it to 0. Either it's an arbitrary choice (and the test could have been find 0x1 with the gotos reversed) or it might be (I haven't checked) that 0x1 is present in the REQ QUERY output in either case and so cannot be used to tell the two settings apart. – TripeHound Dec 2 '16 at 12:10
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    @RogUE Have you tried running the scripts? – Steven Dec 2 '16 at 15:55

The property to show/hide hidden files is managed in the registry, so you would simply need a .reg file that simply toggles this property. Here is how you do it through registry:

  • Type “regedit“, then press “Enter“.
  • Navigate to the following location: HKEY_CURRENT_USER --> Software --> Microsoft --> Windows --> CurrentVersion --> Explorer --> Advanced
  • Set the value for “Hidden” to “1” to show hidden files, folders, and drives.
  • Set the value to “2” to not show hidden files, folders, and drives.
  • Set the value for “ShowSuperHidden” to “1” to show protected operating system files. Set the value to “2” to not show protected operating system files.

If you give me a bit of time, I will write the REG file and post it here. Edit: Steven seems to have posted an example script, so I won't build one.

  • @RogUE : Yes, the ShowSuperHidden is for the system files that are hidden. – IronWilliamCash Dec 1 '16 at 16:16
  • @RogUE I am unsure what the SuperHidden value does. However, it does always reset to zero whenever the View tab of the Folder Options applet is opened the first time. – Steven Dec 1 '16 at 16:47
  • Check the setting. Close Folder Options. Run my toggle script. Repeat. – Steven Dec 1 '16 at 17:03

Although not a command line function, here's a method on how to quickly open the window: Show hidden files and folders.

Caution: Review source information in Part 1 concerning Vista before proceeding.

Part 1: Create a folder that contains the object 'Show hidden files and folders'.

Part 2: Create a desktop shortcut of 'Show hidden files and folders'.

Part 3: Open the window for 'Show hidden files and folder'

After you have completed all 3 parts you will have a keyboard shortcut for quick access to the window for 'Show hidden files and folders'.

Part 1

  1. Right click a blank area of the desktop
  2. Click New
  3. Click Folder
  4. Name the folder: How-To Geek.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

Source: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/8711/stupid-geek-tricks-enable-the-secret-how-to-geek-mode-in-windows/

Part 2:

  1. Open the How-To Geek folder you just created
  2. Click the arrow next to File Explorer Options if it's not already expanded
  3. Right click and drag to the desktop 'Show hidden files and folders'
  4. Click create shortcut here

Note: In this particular situation you could left click and drag, but it's always good practice to right click and drag to ensure you are performing the intended function, and because you can also click cancel if needed.

Part 3:

  1. Right click the shortcut folder on the desktop 'Show hidden files and folders'
  2. Click Properties
  3. On the Shortcut tab click in the Shortcut Key field
  4. Press something like Ctrl + Alt + T
  5. Click OK
  6. Press Ctrl + Alt + T and the 'Show hidden files and folders' will open

I know you arent using it but its worth considering the upgrade. The process in Windows 10 is: Alt + V H H

You need more keystrokes to open the command prompt in Windows 7.

  • I am not going to upgrade just for the sake of a keyboard shortcut. – RogUE Dec 11 '16 at 15:06

A possibly more convenient way to accomplish this with minimal effort is through adding a context menu item, to do this:

  1. Create a new simple text document somewhere and name it "togglehidden.reg"
  2. Open it with notepad and paste the following:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
  3. save and close.

  4. double click your new reg file, accept prompts to install it and you're done.

This is what you should get: Hidden Toggle

Source: https://winaero.com/blog/hidden-items-context-menu-windows-10/


Thanks to Steven's reply, I could wrote software that toggles this (and refresh open explorer windows) with a single click: Link


When the application is opened, it gets a value from the registry key (Hidden) here: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced.

Depending on the value, a hidden command prompt to change the value is executed. Thereafter every open windows explorer window is refreshed and hidden files/folders is hidden/shown.

It is available for vieweing in the source.

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